The death of an African-American named George Floyd at the hands of policemen on May 25 sparked protests against racism and police brutality in the United States that spread across the world in a matter of days.
Mr Floyd quickly became a beacon for the Black Lives Matter movement.
However, although the movement has spread even to the East, in countries such as Japan and South Korea, a recent article by the South China Morning Post has pointed out the silence of most Chinese hip-hop stars on the BLM movement and the protests.
What some fail to realise is that the essence of the popular genre that is hip-hop lies in the struggles unique to the black community — struggles such as racism and violence. Thus, though hip-hop is celebrated around the world, true fans of the culture understand that the appreciation for the genre cannot be separated from the appreciation of the culture behind it.
According to the article, though a few Chinese hip-hop stars have publicly condemned racism on social media outlets that are blocked in China, others have not done so.
In particular, hip-hop star Sun Bayi, who made a name for himself on the hit reality rap show called The Rap of China, said he could not say anything about the prominent issue of racism. “I know racism in theory, but it’s hard to empathise with it,” he said. “I’m not black. I have never lived in America. What can I say about it?”
In contrast to the multitude of non-black international artistes who have made a stand against racism, Chinese hip-hop stars seem to have fallen short of the expected amount of support for the culture that has brought them to stardom.
In fact, as mentioned by the article, many in China see hip-hop as a trend redefined by Chinese culture, as opposed to the result of a collective struggle unique to the black community. /TISG